Du and Etisalat: a game with no winners
The UAE’s two telecoms operators have been waging a tit-for-tat war of late; here’s why it doesn’t matter much.
June 2, 2010 3:41 by Samuel Potter
Because many customers in the UAE do not have a choice over which company to subscribe to, Du was under heavy pressure to secure coverage of the event, which is free to viewers in many countries. This they managed to do, announcing their offer yesterday, just ten days before the tournament is set to kick off.
Perhaps the publicity surrounding its efforts – and the fact it is offering the tournament at a lower price than Etisalat – prompted the larger operator to respond immediately with the announcement of its 3D services, pegged heavily to the World Cup Coverage. Unfortunately for them, Du were ready, and the very same day launched its own 3D services. The two press releases arrived with Kipp just minutes apart.
But the truth is, these are superficial battles. In a country where most subscribers get no choice of provider, prices, speed to market, and content make very little difference to the customer base of either operator. Never mind the fact that 3D TV is in its infancy – the number of people in the UAE with a 3D television set must be minimal.
As Nick Grande, the managing director of ChannelSculptor, a television consultancy in Dubai, told the National, “The price war is not meaningful because Etisalat users can’t access Du’s IPTV services, and vice versa. This is purely about the perceptions of the networks. It’s about what consumers think of Etisalat and Du.”
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